ELMIRA, N.Y. - The Elmira Jackals' inaugural Pink In the Rink presented by Wine and Design drew the largest crowd of the season with 3,995 in attendance at First Arena on Saturday night. The fans saw the Jackals and Royals produce offense in bunches but the Royals took the 6-3 win home with them. Elmira's record fell to 22-35-8 on the season.
Danny Hobbs didn't take long to impact the Jackals' lineup after returning from Binghamton of the American Hockey League. Last night, in his first game back, he registered a team-high six shots on goal at Reading, and tonight scored on his first shot of the game. Hobbs barreled to the slot and slammed a rebound past Reading goalie Brandon Anderson for his 17th of the season. The goal at 13:10 was assisted by Rob Bellamy and Dane Walters. Elmira wasn't able to take the lead into the intermission, though, because the Royals scored a near carbon copy of the Jackals' opening goal. Kevin Walrod poked the rebound of Bryant Molle's point shot past Neil Conway to tie the score with 18:08 gone in the first.
The Royals rolled the momentum from that late first-period goal into a very strong second period. They scored a pair of goals 42 seconds apart to break open the game. Marvin Degon slapped a point shot past Conway for a power play goal at 6:40 then used a similar shot to set up T.J. Syner's tip-in goal at 7:22. The Jackals fell further behind when Domenic Monardo finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play between Matt Campanale and Gary Wolfe. The goal was Monardo's team-leading 26th of the season and came with 18:08 gone by in the second.
The third period didn't start much better than the second ended for the Jackals. Jesse Todd whipped a wrist shot past Conway 6:51 into the frame to swell the Royals' lead to 5-1. But the Jackals did not fold in the face of the large deficit. Corey Bellamy lit the spark on a potential comeback with his first career ECHL goal. Bellamy snapped a shot over Anderson's outstretched glove at 14:28 for the Jackals' second goal of the night. Reading then took a pair of penalties four seconds apart and gave Elmira a lengthy five-on-three power play. Artem Demkov camped out on the back door and slammed home a centering feed from Hobbs to pull Elmira within two at17:11. Reading took another trip to the sin bin with 1:09 to play but Brandon Blandina hit the empty net with 52 seconds left to set the final.
Neil Conway took the loss while making 28 saves. The Jackals ended the night 1-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals return to home ice on Wednesday, April 2 to take on the Kalamazoo Wings. Join us for a Jackals trading card set giveaway and the final Willowcreek Wednesday of the season. Don't forget that groups of 10 or more who book in advance receive discounts off the box office price and preferred seating based on availability. Call 607-734-7825 to get your group outing booked.